Darlington Mowden Park have made five changes for today’s home game with Ampthill, as both sides battle it out for second spot.

There’s two changes come in the front row, with Adam Brocklebank and Jack Payne returning to start alongside Chris Wood.

Canadian Matt Heaton returns from international duty to join Dave Fisher and Ollie Hodgson in the back row.

In the backs, Ruaridh Dawson starts at scrum half alongside Warren Seals who starts at 10. Adam Radwan start on the wing. In the replacements, stalwart Ralph Appleby provides front row cover, with Talite Vaioleti and Simon Uzokwe adding options from the bench.

Five of the Mowden squad were involved in the Newcastle Falcons A squad on Monday night, where they beat Wasps 62-12.

Mowden director of rugby Danny Brown said: “Adam Brocklebank and Jack Payne come in to the front row, and we’re happy to have Matt Heaton back at 7. We’re grateful to have Ruaridh Dawson involved at scrum half, although Jack Blakeney-Edwards filled in well last weekend. We also welcome back Adam Radwan who has performed brilliantly for the Falcons in the last few weeks. A number of the lads are unlucky to miss out, but they’ll all be needed over a tough run in to Christmas.”

After last week’s draw, Brown said: “We were slightly disappointed last week, throwing away what felt like a good lead. The boys came away pretty frustrated with the result but three points on the road against a strong Bishop’s Stortford side isn’t the worst outcome, especially is the last kick of the game had gone over.

“We are expecting a massive challenge from a very physical Ampthill side. They usually have a big pack and play pretty direct which will test us defensively. We’ll need to be at our best tomorrow.”

Ampthill sit two points behind DMP in the table, and Mowden will face table topping Coventry in their next home game on Saturday, December 16.

Brown added: “This game kicks off a tough December. It’s important for us to go into the Christmas break in a good position ready for the second half of the season.”

DMP Sharks face Bristol at 4pm. Red Roses Heather Kerr, Tamara Taylor, Jo Brown and Katy Daley-McLean all return following England’s three-test series against Canada.

Scotland captain Lisa Martin also returns and starts at 9, while Georgina Roberts is back from representing the Barbarians in Ireland.